Thursday, 16 October 2008

I've been digging in the garden. I've moved a few plants to a friends place to hold for the winter, just in case we do actually sell the house. In reality, they'll do really well there as the spot gets lots of sunshine, is sheltered from the wind, gets lots of snow cover and is very fertile loam, being a 35 year old pig manure pile. It is well composted. The bloodwort, a dyer's greenweed are currently there. As well, I scattered a bunch of woad seeds for spring harvest. I'm going to move my madder bed there soon as well. Mainly though, I'm just pulling all the weeds and cutting back stalks for the winter and to make the garden space look tidy.

I feel like I've hardly accomplished anything over the past week, although the house is ready to list, or at least ready to call in a realtor and see what they think. It's been the most stressful house selling/ moving I've ever done and we're not even there yet, probably because we didn't initiate it and were woefully unprepared for this.

With the blue diamond twill sitting and aging until I get the energy, time and space to do something with it, I dressed the loom with what I thought would be a fast and easy project. Who'd of thunk that a simple pair of wickelbander (wicklebander?) would take so much effort? First I'd planned this project and bought the yarn in June. Then I let it sit until I knew I needed a fast project. I started researching it and that part has been totally fascinating - there are a number of properties which seem to come to light in the few number of fragments and pieces found. They're pretty much all 2/2 twill in a vertical broken herringbone pattern. Dyes used are orchil, woad, madder and some yellow and brown. They are mainly solid colours but a few have different coloured warps and wefts. The patterns can be inconsistent, switching directions at seemingly random numbers. One fabric bit has 3 selvedges, so perhaps evidence of the warp weighted loom as textiles woven on a warp weighted loom will indeed have 3 selvedges.
I had first threaded the pattern in the heddles, making a lovely horizontal herringbone. I had to un-weave, rethread and go to it again. Now I've a lovely vertical herringbone. It's a broken pattern, developed simply by skipping a shaft when switching directions. The rusty orange red, which I'd purchased at night and shoved in my cupboard, turned out to be the absolutely perfect deep madder red.
I've learned so much with this project and it's only just started. Edges - very different when you don't have the momentum of a boat shuttle. Beating - learning how to gently beat 'cause this project really needed a lighter hand. Counting for patterns - yea, right! hehehe I can see why the patterns could be somewhat irregular. Warp tension - it makes a huge difference in the fabric density and the edges as well. It sure was quick to dress the loom though - only a couple of hours, another added for the re-threading.
The Dyer's Knotweed has finally bloomed - when it's too late in the season for pollinators and we're having frosts - go figure that one.

1 comment:

Karen said...

3 selvedges on the warp-weighted loom - not necessarily.

It depends on what time period the WWL was being used in - apparently, the tablet woven, or rigid heddle woven starting band that creates a selvedge edge at the beginning is a later period Viking Age innovation. Iron Age textiles don't necessarily have this extra edge.

There's also a weaver's preference/rationale to consider.
I didn't have any tablet cards when I started, nor did I know how to tablet weave - I just throw the warp over the bar at the top and get started.